CampStaffUSA offers a resource page to camp employers who want more information. CampStaffUSA has taken the most frequently asked questions and has provided employers with this resource page to find the answers and for convenient access to forms and useful links. Most questions pertain to international staff who are participating in the J1 program as the regulations change from time to time.

If your question is not answered here, feel free to contact your Account Manager or email your question to employers@campstaffusa.com.

Camp Director Manual

For your convenience, CampStaffUSA has provided a detailed camp director manual that outlines CampStaffUSA screening practices, matching and referral processes, general staff expectations, general procedures, and compliance with J1 visa regulations.

CampStaffUSA Camp Director Manual

Program Period for J1 Camp Participants

Camp Counselors: Camp Counselor dates are restricted to a maximum of 4 months employment and must be consistent with typical summer camp season dates.

Support Staff: Camp support staff are governed by the summer work travel program and as such are subject to the summer work travel permitted dates as established by their home country. Dates are subject to change.

Support Staff Program Dates

Regulations Governing J1 Camp Participants

Both the camp counselor and summer work travel programs are exchange visitor programs and are subject to Department of State regulations. Camp employers are also charged with the same responsibilities as summer work travel host employers.

Camp Counselor Program

Camp Support Staff (Summer Work Travel Program)

Host Employer Advisory Letter.

The regulations governing the summer work travel program have been under scrutiny and have undergone some changes in vetting procedure for employers, etc.  The published set of regulations are available online at

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=&SID=97d595dc3601099a5bb1e0bd6030a9c4&r=PART&n=22y1.0.1.7.35

Required J1 Employer Forms

Camps accepting international support staff are now required to submit for sponsor approval the following:

  • Copy of Coverage Page for Workman’s Comp Insurance (or copy of exemption)
  • Copy of the Company’s Business License or Health Inspection Confirmation or other document that permits legal permission to conduct business

As regulations change, you can expect more information to come from the designated sponsors associated with your international staff.

Taxes and J1 Staff Informational Links

Tax laws have changed and ALL J1 Exchange Visitors are required to apply for a social security card and are subject to federal, state and local taxes on all earnings. They are still exempt of paying into FICA, FUTA and Social Security though. CampStaffUSA recommends that camps consult with their accountant/tax preparer as tax laws may differ among states. The ACA offers some suggestions in this matter as well.  Please read through their Frequently Asked Questions.

For your convenience, we have included some links directly pertaining to the subject.

NEW I-9, Employment Eligibility Form

https://www.uscis.gov/i-9

Instructions for completing the W-4 for J1 Participants

https://campstaffusa.com/w4-instructions-for-J1-participants/

Fair Labor Standards Act: Exemption for Seasonal Amusement or Recreational Establishments

http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs18.pdf

State Labor Offices

http://www.dol.gov/whd/contacts/state_of.htm

Exemption from FUTA

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/aliens-employed-in-the-us-futa

Review page 5-6 of this publication for exempt nonimmigrant workers

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p519.pdf

Social Security and Foreign Workers

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/hiring.htm

https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10107.pdf (July 2022)

Social Security & Medicare Taxes

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/alien-liability-for-social-security-and-medicare-taxes-of-foreign-teachers-foreign-researchers-and-other-foreign-professionals

Social Security

In order to obtain a Social Security Number participants must complete an application, form SS5, at a social security office.  The Social Security Office works with the SEVIS system and timing is important. Participants cannot apply if they have not checked in with your sponsor to validate their visa. With the new electronic entry system, the Social Security Office requires that the visa be validated for only 2-3 days prior to application with a program end date at least 14 days from the date of application to provide time for processing.  The I-94 confirmation, however, must be accessed and printed from https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/recent-search. If Participants wait until after camp ends to apply, they will probably not be eligible to submit the application.  Please take this into consideration.

The online form is available at www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf .  Most camps organize a day or time for participants to do this in a group and you can locate the social security office nearest you at www.ssa.gov.  You will need to enter the zip code.

NEW FORM for use with Social Security Applications.  Social Security has now developed a form that participants can submit with their application that in essence gives permission for the release of their social security number to the employer for payroll and tax purposes: https://campstaffusa.com/assets/ssa132.pdf

Participants will also need to present the following documents:

Valid passport with J-1 visa
DS 2019 forms
Printed I-94 Confirmation (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/recent-search)
Job offer

Participants should make a copy of all documents and keep them safe in case of loss or theft of the originals.

The Social Security Card will be mailed to the address listed on the SS5 form.  It can take anywhere from 2-12 weeks to receive the Social Security Card, however, participants are legal to work.

There have been rare occasions when a Participant is asked for a sponsor letter to submit to the social security office.  As a J-1 camp counselor or summer work travel participant, they are exempt of the sponsor letter requirement as per the https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0110211345.  Should the Social Security Officer request a letter of work authorization from the sponsor, please reference POMS Section: RM 10211.345 subsection A.

Participant Medical Insurance Information

J1 Participants are covered under the sponsor medical insurance policy that meets or exceeds the J1 regulations.  Policy informational links can be found here.  Medical Insurance Information.

Medical insurance Guidance Page: https://campstaffusa.com/medical-insurance-guidance/

Domestic staff have independent medical insurance policies.

Medical insurance does not take the place of workmen’s compensation.  Work related injuries must be filed under the camp workmen’s compensation policy.

Temporary Travel Outside of the US

Both visas permit re-entry into the US but do not permit entry into another country. Participants are obligated to obtain the necessary documentation or visa as outlined between their home country and the country of the planned visit.  In addition, participants must have their sponsor sign their “Travel Validation By Responsible Officer” if they plan to visit in another country other than a contiguous territory or adjacent island.

If a participant needs this signature, they will need to contact their sponsor at least 4 weeks in advance. The sponsor’s name and contact number can be found in section 7 on the Form DS 019. A sponsoring representative must sign the Form DS2019 to indicate that they are traveling and are still in “good standing” with their employer who is expecting their return. If they leave the U.S. without this signature of “good standing” they may not be permitted to reenter the US under the J-1 visa and will forfeit their work eligibility and your insurance coverage.

If taking short trips (30 days or less) to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean Islands during the course of a participant’s visit to the U.S., participants should hold onto their I-94; it should only be turned in when they leave the U.S. to return home.

Participant Forms

Participant Reference Form 

Participant Medical Screening 

Student Status Verification Form (required for summer work travel visa applicants – including camp support staff)

SEVIS Fee Payment (this fee can be paid by anyone)

DS 160 Visa Application

DS 160 FAQs

Other Useful Links.

US Embassies Worldwide

Embassy Wait Times

Deferred Inspection Sites

Border Wait Times

Ports of Entry

US Customs and Border Protection Information Center